48 Need-to-Know Terms For Navy Spouses

Your sailor comes home from a long duty day in a bit of a grumpy mood, and, of course, loving wife that you are you smile and say, “How was your day, dear?”

He grimaces.

“I showed up late for muster, and the Section Leader put us Port and Starboard. I had to field day in between watches all day, and then I got stuck with the mid watch. My relief was late for turnover, and breakfast was crap. All I’ve had to eat was some geedunk. Damn, what a crappy day!”

Didya get all that? No? Well, why ever not?

Perhaps because you speak the English, and your sailor has slipped into NavySpeak, the language taught early and often to our sailors but rarely shared explicitly with the spouses. Well, today’s your lucky day!

48 Need-to-Know Terms for Navy Spouses @Back on Land. Communication is key in any marriage but even more so when your other half is gone most of the time! Make an effort to "speak his language!"
Some of you might be thinking, “I’m not in the Navy! I don’t need to learn what this stuff means!” 

I couldn’t disagree more.

Communication is key in any marriage, but it becomes even more important when your other half spends half your marriage on a ship or boat far, far away! These acronyms and all that crazy slang are a part of your sailor’s vernacular no matter what, and it’s in everyone’s best interest if you can keep up with the conversation!

Not to mention the fact that while you may not be IN the Navy, you do live in the world of the Navy! Do you live on base? Have you ever been to PSD? Need to communicate with Tri-Care? Arranging a move? Yeah … in each of those instances you will be spoken to by others who speak that crazy Navy language you don’t think you need to learn!

I’m not saying you need to study the list and begin peppering every conversation with your new found knowledge …

No ... just no.
No … just no.

 

I’m just saying that committing a few simple words and abbreviations to memory NOW can save you a lot of trouble LATER!

And just for a little fun …

The Navy also has a good bit of terminology that’s just straight silly. Can you define these goofy words in the comments?

Geedunk, Scuttlebutt, Balls to the Wall, Goat Locker,
Bug Juice, Skylarking, Wetting Down

Happy Birthday to Me! (Sort of)

Two days ago I realized that I had forgotten something I really should have remembered …

TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY!

Happy Birthday

Or rather, it’s BACK ON LAND’S birthday!

I’ve called this little piece of the internet my home for two years now (though it incubated inside my head and offline for about a month and a half before that).

So today I just want to say THANK YOU to YOU!

Thank you for reading my posts!

Thank you for liking and commenting and sharing on Facebook!

Thank you for tweeting!

Thank you for pinning!

THANK YOU!

I wish I had a cool prize to giveaway, but … I don’t.

Whomp-whomp.

What I do have is …

A BRAND NEW NEWSLETTER!

Never miss another post, and get a sneak peak at some of the new things

coming to Back on Land this year.

BIG things! AWESOME things! Basically …

write

And maybe a few fun giveaways and such in the mix!

I’m crazy excited about all the THINGS in store for my little blog and for all my awesome readers over the next year!

I hope you’ll hang around to see ALL THE THINGS!

(PS Did you notice I got a little makeover this week? What do you think?)

(PS #2 Did you remember to sign up for my newsletter? You don’t want to miss it!)

I Judged Her (Fighting and Losing the Milspouse Wars)

On Monday I posted my plan for winning the milspouse wars … Be the Change You Want to See in the Milspouse Community. Click over for the full low-down, but my basic plan is to simply try to be a better person, try kindness, give more of myself, judge less, and own up to my mistakes.

Own up to my own mistakes? Well, here goes …

Judging each other is a big part of the Milspouse Wars. Perhaps owning up to it is the first step for fixing it.

A few weeks ago after a meeting, I was standing in a parking lot on base chatting with a good friend as her kids played nearby when Colors began to play overhead. My friend and I each stood still, listening to the music, taking a moment to pay respect. Her kids … well, they were less than still. A little crazy in fact. After it was over, my friend glanced over at me, gave an embarrassed shrug, and kind of quietly said, “Kids!”

It bugged me. Why didn’t she make them stand still? Why didn’t she grab them up and bring them in line?!?

But as quickly as the thought crossed my mind it was gone. I didn’t give it another thought until later that evening when she messaged me and apologized for her kids’ behavior. She said they’d never acted that way and that she just hadn’t been sure what to do in the moment. I commented that they probably just had a lot of energy after a long quiet meeting and went about my evening.

But the next day her message nagged at me. Why had she felt she needed to message me and apologize? It’s really not my business, and anyways she’s a great mom. Like really great. She does crafts and takes her kids hiking. They eat super healthy, and both kids are super smart and very well-behaved. I really look up to her as a mom so why would she need to say sorry to me?

Then it hit me.

In the moment, standing in that parking lot, I judged her, and she knew it. My face must have given it away. My posture must have stiffened. Whatever the tell, I judged, and she felt it.

Sigh …

I could have given her a reassuring smile. I could have related the story of how my Sydney did the exact same thing once at a softball game on base, complete with a backwards hat and her best hip hop poses. I could have said that in that moment, my moment, I did the same thing she had done. I could have shared that I had been embarrassed and angry and that I didn’t know if I should grab Sydney up and cause a scene during Colors or deal with it later. I could have shared that my embarrassment lasted longer than Colors, and I had to deal with Sydney after the fact anyways.

I could have done any or ALL of those right things, but instead, in the moment, I judged her. Instead of being the change, I was the problem, and man, I hate it. I have since apologized. I shared my story about Sydney’s moment, and I apologized again. I’m pretty sure I lead with, “I gave you bitch-face the other night, and I’m soooo sorry,” but I still feel bad.

Because I know the change has to begin with me. I know I have to make a difference, and I am trying. But that day, in a parking lot on base with a good friend and her awesome kids, I failed.

Smiling, saying hello, resisting gossip … all those are important, but I am human. I will fall. I will make mistakes. I will, sadly, judge my fellow milspouse. So today I take on that last bit. I admit my mistake. I apologize.

We can only change ourselves, and we can only do so one day at a time. Here’s to better days, more kindness and less judgement for all of us!

Have you a Colors mishap with your milkid? This is seems to beanother of those “rites of passage” if you do. Share in the comments how you handled it! 

 

Be the Change You Want to See in the Milspouse Community

A few weeks ago a group of amazing military spouse bloggers tackled head-on the issues of spouse shaming and the spouse wars. While I nodded vigorously through all of them, the piece by She Is Fierce took top honors in my book. I know it’s important to talk about the problems. I know we sometimes need to call the bullies on their behavior, but what resonated with me most was one milspouse blogger’s willingness to hold herself accountable. I think the only way to solve this problem is to take a good look in the mirror and change the only person you truly control. Yourself.

Be the Change you wish to see in the Milspouse Community

 

Make eye contact. Smile. Say hello. To EVERYONE. Okay, maybe not everyone (because … hello, crazy!), but don’t save your pleasantness just for your friends. Once, in the midst of a glorious two-year-old tantrum in the commissary, a woman passing by gave me the nicest smile. It said, “You’re doing fine! We’ve all been there! This too shall pass!” It didn’t stop the tantrum, but it did relieve a bit of the embarrassment and frustration I was feeling which gave me another drop of patience to deal with it.

Treat every question as though it’s the first time you’ve heard it.  I belong to a wonderful Facebook group for local military spouses. Somehow the admins have managed to maintain a group of over 1,300 members that is drama-free and a real resource for this area. I love it! But … I have complained from time to time that the same questions get asked over and over and over. I may have even screamed at my laptop, “USE THE SEARCH FEATURE!!!”

But then I have to remind myself that even though I’ve seen the question before, even though it’s been answered before, and even though I may have known the answer for a million years … that poster doesn’t know or else she wouldn’t have asked, and she’s asking because this group is so awesome that she feels safe enough to ask for help. Let that thought carry over into your every day life. If someone asks, they just need an answer. NOT your judgement.

Introduce yourself to new spouses at meetings, briefings, Compass class, etc. This goes along with number one, but it takes it one step further. It is so hard walking into a room knowing no one. I’m pretty outgoing (understatement), and it completely unnerves me (totally true!). How great would it be to have just one person walk up out of the blue, say hello, and offer you a seat next to them? How great if no one felt alone in that room!

Resist gossip. Don’t spread it, and don’t let it be spread around you. Just shut it down. I was once in a group of spouses at McDonald’s when one started to “share a story” about another spouse who was (in her words) “super depressed and looking to divorce her sailor.” I actually knew a little more about that story than she did (from speaking directly with the spouse in question), and simply said, “Ya know? Let’s don’t talk about her situation without her here.” She countered that she meant no harm (she probably didn’t) and that she just wanted to help (she probably did), but regardless that story belonged to someone else. I wouldn’t want my dirty laundry to be aired in the middle of a fast food join no matter how helpful someone wanted to be. Just shut it down.

Don’t engage; support. This is super hard for me. I want to jump right into every conversation, every Facebook thread, and every stupid drama-filled hate group and defend military spouses against the harsh words and actions of the idiots who perpetrate that behavior, but getting all shouty in real life or online doesn’t help. People who post screenshots of milspouses pages with the sole purpose of ridiculing a situation about which they know only the details included in a status update aren’t likely to have a change of heart because of anything I say.

My advice? Leave that group. I’m not asking you to ignore the problem, but it does you no good to add to the number of comments on their junk.  If what you read only makes you angry and you cannot make a difference or change it, leave it be. Encourage your friends to leave those groups, too. If you find that sort of thing funny and entertaining, well maybe I don’t know you as well as I thought, and if you don’t, I urge you to show support of fellow milspouses by turning your back – alongside me – on that ugliness. Create or join places and groups that foster encouragement, kindness, and safety for military spouses.

Be honest and apologize. I’ve said things I regret. I’ve made judgements that were completely unfair. I’ve assumed, belittled, spread gossip, and just generally been the mean girl at times in my life. I’m sorry. I really, truly am. I am growing as a person every day, and a part of that is knowing that you will fall and taking responsibility when it happens.

I’m just one person, just like you. I can’t take on all the hate in the world, but I can admit my own mistakes and try to be a better person, and if we all do the same, the others will eventually fade away.

Be the Change

 

If I Could Tell Me Just One Thing

Fifteen years later, I remember the day like it’s still happening to me. It was a typical summer in Georgia … sunny, beautiful, and somewhere around 150 degrees. I was walking hand-in-hand with my sweet little Aubrey in the commissary parking lot headed in to buy a few groceries when my girl screamed at the top of her lungs, “DAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDYYYYYYYYY!!!” and took off running towards a very handsome, very young, very much not-my-husband sailor.

Now you have to understand something about Aubrey at two. She was the best. She loved her preschool. She was the strangest little neat freak of a toddler I’d ever known. She could open the fridge on a Saturday morning, pull out a pre-filled sippy cup and grab the bowl of cereal I’d left on the counter the night before and keep herself occupied (aka watch TV) while her tired-but-very-appreciative momma got to sleep in a little. She was the best. 

What I’m trying to say is this caught me off guard on every level. Not only was that sailor not her daddy (who was at the time, of course, deployed and very far away), but that behavior was not my Aubrey.

I. was. mortified.

By the time I caught up to her, she had realized her own mistake and was sobbing, and the not-her-daddy sailor was standing stock still, frozen from a fear formed of equal parts “what do I do?” and “I swear she isn’t mine, your honor!” 

I stammered out an embarrassed apology as I scooped her up in my arms. We sat down in a nearby chair, and we both cried. She cried because she missed Daddy and just didn’t understand why he was gone. I cried because she cried, because I missed Daddy, too, and because I felt like the worst mother on the planet.

Who lets their two-year-old get away from them in the parking? Me.

Whose kid doesn’t recognize their own Daddy? Mine.

Who is clearly not doing a good enough job helping her kid through this crazy deployment thing? Me, once again.

If I Could Tell Me Just One Thing, I'd say, "You're doing just fine, Momma!"

If I could tell me just one thing, this is what I’d say.

Every momma feels like their not doing a good enough job sometimes, and you are doing just fine. You have a kid who loves her dad and misses him. That’s awesome. You ran as fast as you could to get her to safety. That’s the best you could do. Then you stuffed your embarrassment aside and held her while she cried, and you cooed and loved until she stopped. That IS what a good momma does.

Each three of my kids has now had that wrong-daddy moment, and now, fifteen years later, I’ve heard so many similar tales, it seems almost a rite of passage, and so many of my friends have shared their stories, of messing up, of “ruining” their kids, of being that horrible mother, that those feelings almost seem like a rite of passage, too

If I could tell me just one thing, I’d say, “Keep your chin up, Momma. It may take you another fifteen years to figure it out, but you’re doing just fine.”

 Have your kids ever claimed the wrong sailor? Have you had a moment where you questioned your worth as a momma? Let’s hear it in the comments … but just know, you’re doing just fine, Momma!